Britain & France lead European condemnation of Abdallah Abu Rahma’s sentencing



After Amnesty International labeled Abdallah Abu Rahma a ‘prisoner of conscience’ on Wednesday, England and France have issued official statements of concern regarding  the hashing of Abdallah Abu Rahma’s sentence. EU diplomats fear that Abu Rahma’s sentence is a clear attempt by Israel to silence legitimate forms of unarmed protest by Palestinians in the West Bank.The French statement reads,

France deplores the aggravation of the sentence handed down against Abdallah Abu Rahma during the appeal judgment delivered by an Israeli military court. Mr. Abu Rahma, a pacifist activist against the construction of the Separation Wall in the Palestinian village of Bil’in, who was previously sentenced to a jail term of one year, was sentenced on appeal yesterday to an additional four months in jail by an Israeli military court on the grounds that he incited violence and participated in or organized illegal demonstrations. We call on the Israeli authorities to respect the legitimate right of the Palestinians to stage peaceful demonstrations. France and its European Union partners are following this case very closely. Our consulate general in Jerusalem and a number of other European diplomatic missions were represented at Mr. Abu Rahma’s hearing.

The statement from the British Foreign Ministry reads,

We are concerned by the Israeli military court’s decision to extend Abdallah Abu Rahma’s sentence on charges of incitement and organising and participating in demonstrations to 16 months.  British diplomats, including Consul General Sir Vincent Fean, as well as diplomats from other EU Member states have continued to attend all hearings in Abu Rahma’s case.  In 2007 the Israeli Supreme Court ruled that the security barrier in Abdallah’s village of Bi’lin must be rerouted, this order has not yet been implemented by the Israeli authorities. We remain concerned that his extended sentence is intended to prevent Abdallah and other Palestinians from exercising their right to non violent protest against the annexation of Palestinian land to Israel.

Abu Rahma was declared a human rights defender by the European Union, and his conviction and sentence generated international outrage, and was denounced by human rights organizations and the international community alike, including EU foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton.

Britain & France lead European condemnation of Abdallah Abu Rahma’s sentencing.

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